Several raids coordinated by Mexican authorities at the end of November have resulted in the seizure of 16 million blank CD-Rs, the IFPI announced today (Dec. 21).

Several raids coordinated by Mexican authorities at the end of November have resulted in the seizure of 16 million blank CD-Rs, the IFPI announced today (Dec. 21).

The action was initiated by Mexican customs agents, with the support of federal agents, following eight months of intensive investigation. The amount of blank discs seized is described by the IFPI as "a worldwide record."

A first batch of product was initially seized in raids on two warehouse facilities in the Mexico City municipalities of Morales and Tacubaya. Additional shipments of 5.8 million blank CD-Rs -- that had apparently entered the country without proper documentation -- were discovered and detained by customs authorities at the ports of Ciudad Juarez and Manzanillo.

According to Mexican authorities, all the seized products were either owned or imported by a company known to be a major supplier of blank CD-Rs to markets notorious for being centers of piracy, such as Tepito in Mexico City. The name of the company was not disclosed.

In a statement, the IFPI says the blank CD-Rs were believed to have been destined for the country's piracy-ridden markets.

"The Mexican authorities should be applauded for these actions," says Raul Vazquez, Miami-based IFPI regional director for Latin America. "We fully support the government and enforcement community's recent efforts to stem the pirate trade. However, there is still work to be done, to deal with the more than 50,000 street stalls offering pirate product which continue to threaten the legitimate industry."

Piracy has had devastating effects on Mexico's legitimate music business. According to the IFPI, the value of the country's legitimate market fell from $665 million in 2000 to $346.5 million in 2003 -- a 48% drop. Mexico has been listed as one of the IFPI's top 10 priority countries in its fight against piracy.

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